Do I Need to Complete an Internship in an Undergraduate Psychology Program?

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A regular part of a psychology education is field learning. This experiential learning happens in a number of ways including practicum opportunities, hands-on learning experiences and internships. While many students participate in supervised internships, others do not.

What Kinds of Programs Require Internships?

There are a number of programs throughout the country that require undergraduate students to complete an internship. Most of these programs are at highly respected Psychology Departments who have the goal of training students to move on to graduate training in the field. In many cases these tend to be Bachelor of Science Degree programs. There are a number of other programs that give students the option of completing an internship.

What Are The Major Benefits of Completing an Internship?

Completion of a supervised internship opportunity is an excellent option for students who will applying to graduate school in psychology or a related field. By completing one of these opportunities you can show potential graduate programs that you can handle the rigor of college courses as well as an internship. It also outlines a high level of motivation for working in the field.

Where and When Are Most Internship Opportunities Completed?

There is a wide range of locations for completing an internship. Many students will find placements in schools, hospitals, mental health facilities, research labs (often at the university research labs) and many others. Students can complete their work while also attending classes while others will secure a summer or winter break internship. It is advised that each students meet with a faculty mentor to determine which internship is the best fit.

Can I Get Paid To Be An Intern?

While some interns at the undergraduate level will receive a small stipend, most will not. Paid internships are most often reserved for students at the graduate level.

Where Can I Find An Appropriate Internship Placement?

There are a number of online sites that help match undergraduate psychology students with an internship opportunity that will best meet the needs of their academic program. Some of these include:

While completion of an undergraduate psychology internship is not a requirement for most programs, it can be helpful for students hoping to become professional psychologists. It can be a unique opportunity to get a sense of what it feels like to be a practicing psychologist. An internship at the undergraduate level also gives students an excellent ‘leg up” on the competition when it comes time to apply for graduate programs.

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